People who live in parts of Appalachia and the South are the least likely of all Americans to be physically active in their leisure time, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In many counties in those regions, more than 29 percent of adults reported getting no physical activity or exercise other than at their job, the report said.

States in which residents were the least likely to be physically active during leisure time are Alabama, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee. For 70 percent of the counties in those states, at least 29 percent of adults reported being physically inactive during their leisure time.

Areas where residents were most likely to be active in their free time were the West Coast, Colorado, Minnesota and parts of the Northeast, the report said.

The West and the Northeast have the lowest levels of diabetes and obesity, along with the lowest levels of leisure-time physical inactivity, whereas the South and Appalachia have the highest levels of all three, the report said.

Physical activity is important in helping to control weight, strengthen bones and muscles, improve mental health, and reduce the risk of Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

“Moderate-intensity activities, such as dancing or brisk walking , for just 150 minutes a week can significantly improve the health of people with diabetes or at high risk for the disease,” Ann Albright, director of CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation, said in a statement.

The estimates in the report come from the CDC's Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, which uses self-reported data from phone surveys and 2007 census information. Those participating in the survey were asked if they participated in any physical activities or exercise outside of their regular job.

A 2008 CDC survey found that 25.4 percent of all U.S. adults did not spend any of their free time being physically active.

Pass it on: People who live in the South and Appalachia are the least likely of all Americans to spend their free time being active.

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